Théo and HugoCultureCinemaMovie reviews
The overarching theme of love is one often explored in cinema, yet the undeniable chemistry between the two protagonists in Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s Théo and Hugo unfolds with such significant intensity, that it would be an insult to tarnish it as another run-of-the-mill romantic romp.
Sparks fly when Théo (Geoffrey Couët) and Hugo (François Nambot) lock eyes across the seedy, sweaty room of an underground sex club, yet it is here where they make love for the first time. It’s intense, passionate but also unprotected, and when Hugo admits that he is HIV positive the pair seek emergency care at a nearby clinic. With the overbearing dread hanging over both of them, the men cultivate their enviable romance among the deserted, twilight streets of Paris and prove that love trumps fear every time.
Couët and Nambot are sublime in their leading roles, with their initial fervent passion for each other developing into something much deeper and more poignant. The two are opposites: Théo is silent, reserved and content in his structured life whereas Hugo is a free spirit, observing the world through rose-tinted glasses. But it is Hugo’s philosophical musings that break the spell that is over Théo, showing him that beauty can be found in the most surprising places if he would only take the time to indulge it.
Their are elements of the movie that echo Richard Linklater’s cinematic style, in particular the narrative, which bears similarities to the Before Sunrise trilogy. The film is shot in real time, which may make the lengthy, erotic scene at the beginning inaccessible to some, however, it is artistically captured, depicting sex as something raw and human, rather than adding the usual Hollywood glamour. It is with this lack of sugarcoating that the audience can really begin to connect with the characters on a natural level.
This is a film that breathes life and remains stable in its portrayal of an authentic and relatable relationship. Thoughtful, charming and at times slightly racy, Théo and Hugo is a truly mesmerising experience.
Théo and Hugo is released nationwide on 9th September 2016.
Watch the trailer for Théo and Hugo here: